Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) takes place every time the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles provide support to the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.
When these muscles relax, your airway narrows or shuts down while you inhale, so you can’t get a sufficient breath in.
This causes the level of oxygen in your blood to decrease. Your brain detects the decrease of oxygen level in your blood and briefly rouses you from sleep to help you reopen your airway.
This awakening normally happens in a very short period of time that you don’t remember it.
You will make a snorting, choking or gasping sound. This pattern repeats itself five to thirty times or more every hour throughout the night.
These breathing interruptions hinder your ability to achieve the ideal deep, restful stages of sleep, and you will feel sleepy during the day.
Those with obstructive sleep apnea are usually not aware that their sleep was disrupted. After all most individuals with this type of sleep apnea think they sleep well at night.
Causes of Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea, which is a lot less common, happens when your brain fails to send out-out signals to your breathing muscles.
You may awaken with shortness of breath or have a tough time going to sleep or staying asleep. Similar to obstructive sleep apnea, snoring and daytime sleepiness can happen.
The most common cause of central sleep apnea is heart failure, and less commonly, a stroke. Individuals with central sleep apnea is often able to remember awakening compared to individuals with central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is regarded as a serious medical problem and if left untreated, complications may arise and include:
- High blood pressure or heart problems.
- Daytime fatigue.
- Complications with medications and surgery
- Liver problems
- Sleep-deprived partners